Day 38: Interesting water sources

Wed. 5/29/13
18.9 miles (Miles 485.7 – 504.6)
Red Carpet Cache – Liebre Mtn. Truck Trail


We made it past 500 miles!

We hiked back into the wilderness today and it felt great. I had a fabulous morning. We climbed into these gorgeous patches of pine forest that smelled sweet and were all quiet except for the wind in the treetops and chirping and chattering birds all around. A couple of times the view opened up and I’d just stand there, watching and listening as gusts of wind swayed the trees back and forth in unison over the hills ahead of me. I felt so relaxed.


Awesome trails through some awesome woods today!

What added to my great morning was my feet. My new shoes and insoles were amazing. Just two days ago I was trying to not walk on my feet because they were so tender, and today was a completely different story. I’m getting used to the beefier support of the green Superfeet, but my foot-balls did great. I could feel them a little, but I think they’ll be back to normal in a couple of days. I dealt with foot fatigue today and that’s pretty much it – foot fatigue is something I expect every day, so it’s a good thing. It’s one of my discomforts that I’m happily comfortable with. It just means I hiked hard!

Water sources… we will take water from wherever we can get it out here, and today certainly proved that. We’ve had a few sketchy water sources before today, but those were usually at a spring or a low stream. Today we had two new water source encounters.

“Pick your poison,” I said to Devilfish as we discussed our choices. We passed one water source that was off-trail, but Devilfish was heading up there because he heard there was a dead chipmunk in the tank we were planning to fill up at. When we got to that tank, Devilfish told us he passed on the last one because it was shallow and looked like ground-up Kermit-green. We got to the top of our tank and slid the metal plate back. Tons of water, no visible dead chipmunks, but a weird sheen on the surface. We filled our bottles and treated it. It didn’t taste too bad… it was a little better than what you’d expect from a giant cement tank full of stagnant water. And we hoped the dead chipmunk thing was just a dirty rumor.

Our next water was at a “guzzler.” Directions on our water report said to crawl under metal roofing material and remove large plastic lid. Somewhere in there it said, “not very appetizing, but it’s wet.” Things are getting interesting out here on the PCT! Tears only filled a couple of bottles here – only what we needed. It was kind of nasty water with leaves and slimy, floating chunks in it. We call this “organic material.” We used this water for dinner, so it was treated chemically and by boiling. I think we’re covered!


The guzzler. Nasty... but it's water!

One other interesting thing from today… I’ve been hearing there is a 24-hour stomach flu getting passed down the trail. After talking with four other hikers that have been sick, I’m certain this is what I was dealing with last week. I am SO thankful that it didn’t hit while I was on trail! I had a bed, blankets and a toilet! Thank you, God! (P.S. I finally am fully recovered from this… energy levels are normal and my appetite is back. Yay!)

Tonight I love clean laundry. Coming into town and having already washed clothes by Aloha has been a HUGE treat. Thank you, Aloha!

And a few other photos from today:


Breaktime with Devilfish and Tears. I'm rockin' the Fat Otter buff. Probably the only one like it on the PCT!


This was randomly placed in the middle of nowhere.




Messenger working on a new stove during break. He's using a Coke can he brought in and a Coors can some jerk littered.

Day 37: Dear PCT…

Tue. 5/28/13
0 miles, currently at Mile 485.7 at the Red Carpet Cache


Red Carpet Cache. Camp for tonight.

Another zero day… sigh. We made it through LA’s busy traffic and I got to my appointment just in time. After that we got rerouted through some windy roads way above the city because all the ramps we wanted to take to the highway were closed for some reason. We were on our way to REI… it took about an hour but we finally made it.

I exchanged my shoes for a new pair a half size larger – a size 10! I also got my new Superfeet. Got rid of the pink that caused me some callus issues and replaced them with shiny new green ones. Those pinks ones have a large seam right in the middle of my front foot-pad… right where my feet are so tender. The green don’t have this seam at all, so I’m very excited to hike in them and see how it goes! And they smell so pretty! This is the only time I will stick my nose in my shoes – when they are brand new.


Old shoes and new shoes!

We got a few groceries, had lunch and got back to the trailhead where we left off. We were parked on the side of the road and that’s where we organized and resupplied ourselves. It was a little windy and chaotic, but we eventually got too much food overstuffed into our food bags. I guess we’re ready to go tomorrow! I hope we eat a lot!


Roadside resupplying

I had some good, deepish thoughts today as we bumped around the busy city and watched everyone around us rushing this way and that to get wherever they needed to be.

As my title states… this is how it started in my thoughts:

Dear PCT, in the words of Jason Mraz,
“I won’t hesitate no more, it cannot wait, I’m yours.”

Yes, PCT, I am yours.

I was remembering back to when this whole thing was just an idea… something I wanted to do sooo bad, but just didn’t know how I’d ever be able to make it happen. I would be sitting at my desk at work, closing my eyes while listening to one of my favorite songs that makes me want to go do things, and picturing myself on the Pacific Crest Trail. I did that a LOT.

And here I am. On the PCT. Wow. Sometimes it just hits, and it feels really good. It’s a very satisfying feeling.

Keep workin’ at those dreams, my peeps! It’s so totally worth it!

So tonight I love seeing dreams being fulfilled… and I’m not just referring to my PCT dream, but all of yours too!

Go do!

Day 36: Sore foot-balls

Mon. 5/27/13
7.5 miles (Miles 478.2 – 485.7)
Anderson’s Casa de Luna – Red Carpet Cache


Pretty fuzzy purple flowers.

I woke up in Anderson’s manzanita grove this morning in time for Joe’s amazing pancake breakfast. We kind of sat around and relaxed for the first part of the day. We packed up our camps, ate some food, chit-chatted with some other hikers and slowly got ourelves pumped up to hike a short day.


Camp in the manzanitas.

Before leaving the Anderson’s we made sure to sign the big sheet and say good-bye to Joe and Terrie. They are really super-sweet people, and it really is kind of hard to leave. Just as we said we were heading out, Terrie says, “you mean you’re not staying for root beer floats?” We got big hugs from both of them, and as we took a good-bye photo, Tears and I got a good bun-squeeze from Terrie. Be careful if you decide to flash a moon at her, too – she’s got quite the slap! According to Aloha it’ll sting up to an hour afterward! Haha! It was a really fun morning!


Our trail names on the official Casa de Luna sheet!


Bun-squeezin'. ♡

Aloha dropped us off at the trailhead and we got hiking around 1:00… the beginning of the hottest part of the day! It wasn’t too bad though. We climbed and took our time starting out. Tears was careful with her ankle and I was babying really sore foot-balls – the front pads of my feet and a spot on my heel were very tender on every step. It’s difficult to hike while trying to not use your feet! I need new insoles! And maybe new shoes, too. I’ll replace one at a time and see what happens. This process begins tomorrow. Thank goodness!

So I was struggling a little with my feet today, and I was really tired, but I was on the trail and that made me smiley and happy.


PCT = Great views every single day!

After about 6.5 miles we met up with Aloha! He decided to hike in a little and meet up with us. What a nice surprise to see him in his Hawaiian shirt coming up the trail towards us!

We got to the red carpet cache and drank a cold soda, visited with other hikers and head out. We are in town, now… again! I have an appointment in Encino tomorrow morning, so we had to get off-trail early. We are getting so antsy and excited to get a five-day stretch of just hiking in! Soon we will!


So many purples!

I craved a good meal tonight, which was kind of a big deal. Aloha and Tears went along with the idea. Food doesn’t ever take much convincing! We ate at a local restaurant that had some great choices for dinners. I enjoyed split pea soup, cottage cheese, mango-pineapple salmon, a ginormous baked potato, steamed veggies, a glass of milk and some garlic toast. I didn’t eat all of it, but most of it! I think my body was happy for the nutrition. I’ve been just dragging since being sick… it felt so very good to eat like that!

Tonight I love Aloha’s beard. It makes sense… I love him, and I love beards! And he’s sitting right next to me. :)


Hippie daycare.


Come on, heel... hang in there. New insoles coming soon!


Hangin' with my hubs... getting photo bombed by Guino.

Day 35: Trail angel to trail angel

Sun. 5/26/13
23.7 miles (Miles 454.5 – 478.2)
Saufley’s Hiker Heaven – Anderson’s Casa de Luna


It’s just about 24 miles from the Saufley’s to the Anderson’s. Most people do the trek in one day, and some even do this stretch overnight because it’s known to be hot and there are a couple of challenging climbs. We planned to do part of it and hike into Anderson’s in the morning, but we pushed through and did it all today! We just kept on going. It was a tough stretch, too!

Here’s the thing… it’s 24 miles between the two famous PCT trail angels’ houses, and there’s also 24 cans of beer in a case. Some hikers think this is an interesting coincidence and decide to head out and drink one beer per mile. The part that surprised me most is that they make it! Oh, they also wear dresses. Even the guys. I don’t think I’m totally up on the rules of this game, but if we’d have thought of it sooner, Tears and I would’ve done 24 gummy bears instead. Darnit!


24-pack challenge boys.

I was almost 100% back after being sick. I felt a ton better hiking, but I noticed I still felt a little weak this morning. Tears led for the long morning climb and kept a strong pace. I dragged a little but she pulled me along. The only other residuals from my sick that I noticed were mini waves of nausea a few times, a still-lessened appetite, and really sensitive teeth and gums… Tears and I had several entertaining discussions involving the effects of my vomit acid. We’ll talk about anything!

At least I felt awake and alert though! I enjoyed the day a lot. We met some more hikers, and even Honeycomb from Milwaukee! Another Wisconsinite! The trail started by winding around hillsides as they climbed through some drier, stubbly-brush terrain, then it popped over to the other side of the hills into more greenery. Down some switchbacks to cross a road, then back up another long, steep climb before descending back down to Green Valley where the Anderson’s live… well, technically two miles from where they live. We made it!



Just as we got to the road a van pulled up. I asked as she rolled the window down,  “are you giving rides to Anderson’s?” She cheered and answered, “Yes!” Woo-hoo! We were so thankful. Aloha wasn’t expecting us until tomorrow so I wasn’t sure where he was, and we had zero phone signal. I was tired and my foot balls were screaming – and Tears turned her ankle pretty badly again a few miles back. The 2-mile walk to Anderson’s would have been a struggle that we weren’t in the mood to push through!

We arrived at Anderson’s, and as an incoming hiker you get quite the welcome. As the van pulled up, everyone started clapping and cheering,  someone hands you a cold beer, and you are led to the back to set up your camp. “Just bring your headlamp and food bags back when you’re done, grab a Hawaiian shirt from the rack, and taco-salad dinner is in about an hour.” Wow, hey!?


I wasn’t feeling great in a lot of ways, so I snuck back to the tent to rub tiger balm on my feet. Then I got stubborn and decided if I wad going to feel icky, I may as well have a couple of beers. It actually went okay. Maybe it’s just what I needed!

Tonight I’m loving my box girls… I think of you all so much! Miss you like crazy!


Important messages from the oasis cache.


Coolest flower on the trail today.

Day 34: Sleepwalking

Sat. 5/25/13
10.3 miles (Miles 444.2 – 454.5)
Soledad Canyon Rd. – Hiker Heaven/Saufley’s


This is how I felt today... such a bummer.

I had a rough day…

Last night I was working out some sort of bug. I got really sick and spent my night in the hotel room alternating between shivering under three blankets, rushing to the toilet, throwing up, and sometimes an awful combination. It was ugly. I can’t remember the last time I was sick like that, but I thought I was going to die. I think I had my last episode around 1:30am, and was able to get some sleep after that.

I thought I’d hike this morning to see how it went, not knowing if it was a really dumb choice or not since I had to have been terribly dehydrated. Thankfully Tears was with me in case I became delerious or something. We also only had to go about 10 miles to get to Saufley’s, who are super-famous PCT trail angels in Agua Dulce. We made it here and decided to stay.

I hung in there okay while hiking, but I was mostly sleepwalking. I didn’t have much appetite, so I was low on fuel, and my reserves all literally went down the toilet last night. I knew I wasn’t myself when I struggled up the smallest climbs and prayed for downhill. I enjoyed what I could using what little energy I had, but i probably missed a few things because I was focusing so much on my footsteps. I told Tears that I think my reserve was using stubborness instead of food-fuel…

Needless to say, it was probably a wise choice to stop here tonight. When we rolled in around 3pm, we got the tour and I found a cot to nap on. I think I slept for a good hour, and as the evening progressed I started getting my appetite back. I ate lunch followed a short while later with dinner. Best of all, it stayed down with only a slight bit of indigestion. Thank goodness! Tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep, I hope to be back to good ol’ me.


Saufley's Hiker Heaven. Loaner clothes, hiker boxes, horsies, cots, tents, laundry, showers, etc.

We did walk through Vasquez Natural Area today. There was an episode of Star Trek filmed here, and the slanted rocks were very fun to see. It was a buzzing place from being a holiday weekend, too.


Vasquez Rocks

As soon as we walked out of the park, Aloha drove up! He dropped Jon off at LAX this morning and made it back in time to check on us. The Saufley’s are about a mile off-trail, so he waited on the corner for us to give us a ride… and he had smoothies for us from the corner bakery! It was actually refreshing and the first thing my tummy took really well.

So it was my first really rough day… but I think I did a pretty good job of staying positive, so I’m happy about that. I had a tweak in my hip, too, which worried me… I think I must’ve knocked something out of alignment in my back from heaving last night. It feels much better already. Being sick really sucks, and I’m really happy it’s behind me. No more of that!

Tonight I love not puking!


Oh, yippee!




I can't see a darned thing in this tunnel! It's so dark! (Love ya, mom!)

Day 33: Even more low-key!

Fri. 5/24/13
0 miles
Currently at PCT Mile 444.2, at Soledad Canyon Road



Today felt like a real zero day. I hiked zero miles, I stressed about zero things, and did zero things I didn’t feel like doing. I even accomplished zero of the things on my to-do list. Okay, I did one thing – planned food with Tears for the next 2-day stretch. But that felt like zero work. I’m getting way better at this zero day relaxing thing.



Lounging at the motel pool. Zero hard work.

All I did today was sleep in until 9am, take my time getting ready to go… to breakfast. Tears, Jon, Aloha and I went to Crazy Otto’s and I ate half of a giant 6-egg omelet. Then we shopped for bread and cheese, then got back to the motel and sorted food, and then we all enjoyed the pool and hot tub. After that Aloha and I went to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream, picked up some wingies to go, and now we’re sitting back at the motel room watching mindless tv.

As nice as today was, I’m excited to get on the trail tomorrow. I know, I say that a lot… I really love hiking! Good thing, hey!? :)

Oh, and I officially have a sweet little kiss mark from the poodle dog bush. I have one welt on my calf that I thought was a bug bite at first… but bug bites don’t spread. Sigh… it’s not bad though. It’s only about the size of a quarter and I’m doing really good at not scratching it. I also have a line of about 8 small bumps on my knee. I hope those just go away. I’m so glad that plant won’t come up on the trail anymore! Now we just need to watch for the deadly mojave green rattlers! Trading one risk for another!


This photo is a super-weird perspective, but check out my poodle dog bump... annoying!

Tonight I love stupid tv. Nothing shuts my brain down for relaxation better… except for maybe hiking.


More pool time with Aloha


Even my gear/food piles are more organized.

Day 32: Low-key

Thurs. 5/23/13
0 miles
Currently at PCT Mile 444.2, at Soledad Canyon Road


What a great little motel!

I didn’t do a whole lot today. Aloha and I slept in until about 8am back in the Anderson’s manzanita garden. They have a little pathway that winds through with a whole bunch of small flat patches for hikers to camp. It’s kind of mystical – totally cool.

We got rolling so we could grab some ice and check into our hotel before picking Tears and Jon up from the trail. We got our room and threw a whole bunch of stuff in there so we’d have room for the four of us comfortably later in the pickle jar.

We restocked the Soledad Canyon cache with an iced cooler with sodas, Gatorade and a box of chips, then head back to the KOA to pick up Tears and Jon. We went straight to the hotel so they could get a shower, then we all went to In-N-Out Burger for dinner and swung through Walgreens on the way back to the hotel.

I bought Calamine lotion. I have a line of questionable red bumps on my knee that I suspect might be from the stupid poodle dog. Lion King has gotten it and just said to keep it clean… which can be tough while on the trail! He said to use Purell to clean and dry it out. I plan to just keep it as manageable as I can. Hopefully it’s nothing anyway.

See? I told ya I didn’t do much today!

Right now I’m at The Rock Inn in Lake Hughes. Adam found karaoke, and Lion King is a karaoke star, too! They’re singing and I’m cheering for them. Oh zero days… tomorrow we take care of hike stuff – resupply and schedule. I have another stinkin’ zero I have to take next Wed. for an appointment. Grr… I just need to keep hiking! I might go a month straight after that! Hah!


Adam singing!

Tonight I love my knee-high stripey socks. They keep me warm and they’re fun.